Citizen Journalism

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

Your guide to the Press Gallery and its gatekeeper

In Fifth Estate, Journalism, Margo Kingston, MSM on April 30, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Margo Kingston note: I was a member of the press gallery for many years. When I left Fairfax to take Webdiary independent my Parliament House ID lapsed. I applied to the then Press Gallery Committee president Karen Middleton for a new PG ID and she signed off without a hassle.

Yet I couldn’t answer some questions from tweeps this week about the status and powers of the PGC, and was surprised by the reasons given by the current president David Speers for refusing an application by Callum Davidson to join the PG as a journo for Independent Australia. The reasons for rejection were that IA was an opinion-based publication, not news-based, and that applicants had to be established working journalists.  I find the first reason odd, given IA’s intrepid investigations of the Ashby and Thomson stories, both of which have produced many news stories and news scoops, including one by me.

In addition, I confirmed with my former SMH colleague Mike Seccombe that he had been granted admission to the Press Gallery for the Global Mail, which is a feature-based publication not focussed on news. Gabrielle Chan, a member of the PG when she worked for the Oz many years ago, was also granted membership when she joined The Hoopla as an opinion and colour writer.

@walter_bagehot has kindly agreed to give us the facts on the privileges of the Press Gallery and the power and composition of the Press Gallery Committee. It seems that Callum can appeal to the PGC as a whole. Unfortunately, there appear to be no written protocols or guidelines for PGC decision making. As new media expands and the mainstream media contracts, I feel that the PGC needs to publish written guidelines and a process for appeal.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Coalition’s 10% NBN cost save locks us out of massive upside

In NBN on April 29, 2013 at 9:34 PM
Taken at the Coalition Bikeshed

Taken at the Coalition Bikeshed – Created by The Geek

Editor’s note: Steve Jenkin is a geek who wants to make the NBN tech stuff accessible to all. He has agreed to be a @NoFibs contributor. so feel free to ask your NBN questions as a comment.

By Steve Jenkin

Source: http://stevej-on-it.blogspot.com.au/

April 29, 2013

The volume of words written and spoken about the NBN must startle many, producing far more heat than light. Is this a case of the “Bike Shed Effect” where trivial decisions dominate the discussion and the biggest decisions seems like an after-thought?

It’s complex, but we shouldn’t be having this debate at all: Frank Blount, Telstra CEO 1992-1999, forecast the customer network would be all Fibre by 2010. What happened on the way to the Future?

What should’ve been a Commercial decision, balancing technical and financial issues, has become political. We can’t unring that bell. As a nation, we now have to figure a path through the combined political, technical and financial/funding maze that will be good value and politically possible.

This three-way tussle is at the heart of the problem: Telecommunications is highly regulated in Australia because it has to be with single large player, Telstra, that can commercially block anyone else, as we saw with cable TV. For the ALP to pursue its broadband policy, it had to first deal with Telstra, deal fairly with its shareholders and create an environment where Telstra was happy and unable to block the new initiative.

There is a huge irony in this debate, each side of politics feels like the other is setting the agenda and dictating terms of debate while the commentariat vigorously defends their personal favourites from the sidelines.

Labor has defined the technical needs debate, “Fibre or not?” forcing the Coalition to respond on those terms with its policy. Read the rest of this entry »

Joan Evatt’s preview of #Ashby appeal

In Ashby Conspiracy, Joan Evatt on April 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM

download (1)

By Joan Evatt

April 29, 2013

Editors note: Here is Joan’s preview of the appeals by Ashby and his lawyer Michael Harmer against the Justice Rares’ dismissal of Ashby’s sexual harassment claim against Slipper as an abuse of the judicial system. Joan will report the hearing for @NoFibs.  Her first report is here.

Just when you think it is safe to re-enter still waters, the waves start to churn again. It’s a cause to pause. The matter of an application before the Court of Appeal to grant leave, and to consider reasons why Justice Rare’s decision in Ashby v Slipper should be overturned, will be heard this week.

The next saga resulting from Justice Rares’s decision in Ashby v Slipper was always going to be of interest. Public scrutiny of the appeal is further heightened because of one unusual aspect of the appeal. One of the appellants is Mr Ashby’s high-profile solicitor, Michael Harmer, of Harmer’s Workplace Lawyers.

For Mr Slipper, although the appeal is a continuing financial and emotional burden, this time should prove a slightly more refreshing exercise. Slipper is no longer on the back foot. Rather it is Mr Ashby and Mr Harmer who are both now fighting for their future professional careers and public standing.

Both applications contain identical grounds founded in Mr Ashby’s and Mr Harmer’s belief that Rares J erred in finding that the “predominant purpose” of Mr Ashby

“ … for bringing the proceedings was to pursue a political attack against the Respondent (Mr Slipper) and not to vindicate any legal claim he (that is Mr Ashby) may have… and accordingly that the proceedings were an abuse of process.” Read the rest of this entry »

Nancy Cato’s hopes for the Royal Commission into Institutional sexual abuse of children

In Nancy Cato, Sexual Abuse on April 29, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Royal Commission

Created by Alan Moir  http://www.moir.com.au/

By Nancy Cato
April 29, 2013

This is my final attempt to face my demons, or at least some of them. It’s only taken 37 years.

In 1976 as a young mother with a newborn babe – my third child – I read a story of a shocking case of Child Abuse; it told of a father shaking his baby and throwing her against a wall after molesting her.

It traumatised me – still does – my hands are shaking as I recount this story. I‘ve been in denial for many years and because I wish to make a positive contribution to the scourge of  Child Abuse that’s in out midst (as I tried to do in my early television days) I must face it.

My catalyst is the recently appointed Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. At its first hearing on 3 April 2013 Justice McClellan AM, the chair for the Royal Commission, acknowledged that there had been harm committed against children that has caused lasting damage.

It’s a start.

I will admit that I’ve been further stung into action by the recent suggestion from a well-known radio broadcaster that a young girl may have herself  provoked the sexual attack she suffered.

This piece is dedicated to victims of Child Abuse wherever you may be, no matter your age or circumstances. It was not easy to write, albeit fantasised and is probably less easy to read – and for that I do apologise. I hope some of you will persevere to the end.

It is not aimed at any one Institution, person, place or thing… but rather, we ourselves; this society that would seem to want to protect its borders more fiercely than its children. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking Away

In AFHP, Federal Election, Journalism, MSM, Tony The Geek on April 28, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Punter @YaThinkN’s contrarian take on Clive Palmer’s latest gig

In Federal Election, Noely Neate on April 27, 2013 at 12:06 AM
clive-palmer-parliament-run

United Australia Party – The new kid on the block.

by Noely Neat

April 26, 2013

Editor’s note: Noely lives on the Sunshine Coast, safe Liberal country, where Peter Slipper and Mal Bough may fight for Fisher, and Clive Palmer may take on the successor to Alex Somylay in Fairfax. Us Queenslanders know how shake up federal politics big time, and I’d love blow-by-blow accounts from voters on the ground. If I was an MSM editor I’d have a reporter living there doing immersion reporting starting now.   

I watched the media and Twitter having a good laugh about Clive Palmer forming his own party, the United Australia Party (UAP). There were all sorts of condescending comments, “You can’t buy a Government Clive”, “Clive Palmer running for office, “Clive Palmer couldn’t run if you set his arse on fire!“, and all the obligatory ‘dinosaur’ jokes. Every article online & or story on TV is prefaced with “Ex LNP donor, billionaire Clive Palmer…

Anyhow, I reckon the joke may be on the media and politicians trashing Clive. I don’t know why Clive is setting up a political party and I don’t really know what his real fight with the LNP was about. We were told it was the Queensland Government overstating how big the State’s debt was, and the mass sackings that resulted. He did put his money where his mouth was too, “Queensland billionaire Clive Palmer donates $250,000 to public sector union Together Queensland to assist sacked public servants“. For a man who has given millions to the LNP over the years and was a life member it was a big call to quit and give funds to the dreaded Unions. Read the rest of this entry »

How Sales dropped the ball on Abbott

In ABC, Federal Election, Journalism, Peter Clarke on April 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM

By Peter Clarke,

April 25, 2013

Late last year, Leigh Sales interviewed Tony Abbott live on the 730 Report. Sales was sharp and persistent, Abbott poorly prepared and struggling. Sales beat claims of bias and won a coveted Walkley Award for TV interviewing.

Naturally viewers were relishing the prospect of a return bout, and Sales and the program promoted the interview on social media. It now seems that if Abbott agrees to be interviewed on an ABC current affairs program it is a ‘get’. Because of the history and the ongoing tensions between the office of the opposition leader and the ABC, there is an additional expectation from the audience.

Unlike Sales’ interviews with Prime Minister Gillard, there is no history between Sales and Abbott around key policy areas or even how they engage in these set-piece, contested, political interviews. Rather, each interview appears to be built from the ground up, as if it was the first one. Their rarity causes a fundamental problem in the continuity of enquiry.

I first reviewed Sales’ performance in a piece about her interview with Gillard after she stared down Rudd to retain her leadership, in which I was quite critical of both participants. I have long been an admirer of Sales, and cite her as one of the best we have.

Or I used to.

Something happened in that Gillard interview which diminished the natural and hard-won interviewing skills Sales had clearly demonstrated. She gleaned very little useful insight or information for citizens. Last night’s interview with Abbott was calmer and smoother than the Gillard one or Sales’ last interview with Abbott, but, again, very little content of real value emerged. 

In fact, the most troubling aspect of the interview last night was that Sales did not appear to be listening acutely enough to Abbott’s answers. Alongside all the integrated skills and techniques in a top interviewer’s toolkit, LISTENING remains the key attribute. Without it, the ‘hollow dance’ becomes even more superficial.

This Abbott interview was roughly the same duration as the Gillard one – just over thirteen minutes. It was (as was the Gillard interview) pre-recorded. And Abbott was not in the studio with Sales. Here is a brief analysis of the interview transcript. 

In her set-up, Sales frames the interview as an enquiry into the Coalition’s economic plan, stating that “your vote will boil down” to your judgement on how well the Labor government handled the Global Financial Crisis and associated spending. Her opening remarks to Abbott followed that line until she ask the gift (for Abbott) question: Are you asking the public to elect you on blind faith?

In my article on Sales’ Gillard interview, I suggested that the interview never recovered from asking a broad diffuse and opinionated first question. Sales’ opening gambit with Gillard:

After recent events, aren’t Australians well within their rights to conclude that the Gillard Government is a dysfunctional mess that deserves to be consigned to opposition as soon as possible?

Notice the similarity in form and approach? Gillard walked through the giant gap. So did Abbott.

Sales could have chosen, as her set-up promised, a specific, targeted first question around economic policy to stop Abbott being able to rely on the generalised, abstract discourse politicians favour to avoid the question and stay on message. But Sales went for the flourish again, and it let her down, again. Read the rest of this entry »

Abbott-v-truth on ‘illegals’

In Federal Election, Refugees on April 24, 2013 at 8:14 AM

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By Tony Yegles

April 24, 2013

Leigh Sales won a Walkley Award for her interview with Mr Abbott on the 730 Report in August 2012. Part of this interview dealt with the issue of using the term “illegal” when referring to asylum seekers. Below is a quick reminder.

LEIGH SALES: Why have you referred repeatedly to illegal asylum boats coming to Australia? Do you accept that that’s illegal and that seeking asylum by any means is legal?

TONY ABBOTT: Most of the people who are coming to Australia by boat have passed through several countries on the way and if they simply wanted asylum they could have claimed that in any of the countries through which they’d passed.

LEIGH SALES: But I don’t believe that it’s actually illegal to pass through countries on your way to somewhere where you want to have asylum.

TONY ABBOTT: You try turning up in America without documents, without a visa, without a passport; you’ll be treated as very, very much illegal, Leigh. The other point I make, from recollection at least, is that the very term that the Government has officially used to describe these vessels is “suspected illegal entry vessel”.

LEIGH SALES: Do you – I’m asking you though, not about the Government. I’m asking: do you accept that it’s legal to come to Australia to seek asylum by any means – boat, plane – that it is actually legal to seek asylum?

TONY ABBOTT: I think that people should come to Australia through the front door, not through the back door. If people want a migration outcome, they should go through the migration channels.

LEIGH SALES: That’s an answer to the question if I asked you: how do you think people should seek asylum?, it’s not an answer to the question: is it legal to seek asylum?

Jon Faine also took Mr Abbott on about illegals in August last year, when the alternative PM conceded the point, but stuck to his script anyway.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

All people have a fundamental human right to seek asylum from persecution.

Leigh Sales not only won a Walkley Award but she was also cleared of bias in that interview by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Yet Mr Abbott keep using the term, and in Perth on April 24 he joined his custom’s spokesman Michael Keenan to put it on a billboard Read the rest of this entry »

Abbott’s fear and loathing advertising for his ‘trust me’ election campaign

In Federal Election, Immigration, Margo Kingston, Refugees on April 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM

Is this the road Tony Abbott has chosen to travel to get voters to trust him?

Blast from past: Lindsay leaflet scandal in 2007

Lindsay leaflet scandal

Lindsay leaflet scandal

And now…

Bendigo and Eden Monaro pamphlet

Bendigo Advertiser 27/28 February 2013

Bendigo Advertiser 27/28 February 2013

y5saze

Bendigo Advertiser 27/28 February 2013

Western Sydney letter-box drop

Source: Liberal Party of Australia, Facebook Page

Source: Liberal Party of Australia, Facebook Page

(Luke Mansillo deconstruction
Liberal Party misinformation targets low educated anti-migrant Labor Party identifiers in Western Sydney)

Western Australia billboard

Mr Abbott & Mr Keenan - April 22 2013

Mr Abbott & Mr Keenan – April 22 2013

Please send us your nominations for Tony’s ‘trust me with your fear’ advertising.

Update 1:

Federal Election 2010

Liberal Party Ad says: Real Action Immigration. Stop Illegals now. The Liberals

2__red_arrows1 (1)

Will Driscoll be charged with lying to parliament?

In Corruption, David Marler on April 21, 2013 at 9:41 PM

DriscollNewmanDavis

By David Marler
April 21, 2013
Source:

BRISBANE, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman lost another seat in parliament this week with the resignation of Scott Driscoll from the LNP.

The tally of MP’s quiting the LNP now stands at four with  Newman’s 78 seat majority falling to 74. In addition, 3 Ministers have resigned over nepotism and incorrect ministerial record keeping.

Driscoll had been suspended from the party several weeks ago but will now serve as an Independent for his seat of Redcliffe.

He is also facing seven investigations over financial  mismanagement with community group Regional Community Association Morton Bay (RCAMB) and retailers union Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association (QRTSA).

On Friday 12th April, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) heard multiple irregularities in the way Driscoll had presided over QRTSA.

Alarmingly, it was alleged he deliberately excluded many key executive committee members to meetings where elections were held. One of those excluded was John Hockings, who had brought the official complaint to the QIRC.

Documents had been lodged with the QIRC stating that Hockings had resigned his position from QRTSA. He confirmed through his lawyers that this was not the case. The legal team requested access to all documents lodged with QIRC as it was likely other executive members had been struck off also. It now raised serious fraud questions.

The QIRC was also told that Driscoll had wrongly disposed of QRTSA assets and property. Requests from Hockings to Driscoll for the receipts of sales were repeatedly ignored.

The Industrial Registrar also noted a discrepancy between the 835 QRTSA members officially lodged with QIRC and the 164 members that had been supplied to Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ). These irregularities pointed to a gross mishandling of elections.

With the beginning of a sitting week in the Queensland Parliament, Driscoll did not attend, stating he needed to care for wife Emma who was home with an undisclosed illness.

In his absence, the Government removed him in his position on the ‘Parliamentary Health and Community Services Committee’. His replacement was the failed former Arts Minister, Ros Bates who was embroiled in nepotism claims.

Led by LNP President Bruce McIver, the party executive was also done with him. They scheduled him to appear at a Saturday meeting to ‘show cause’ as to why he shouldn’t be expelled from the party.

As this news broke, The Courier Mail released February text messages in which Driscoll vowed to an associate that he would never be pushed out the back door but to go out ‘guns blazing’ and that he would release a book of ‘where the bodies were buried’.

However, for all his bravado, he remained a political coward and resigned the night before the meeting.

His resignation letter was bizarre and he blamed Labor for the whole smear campaign against him.

“Now all Labor seem to want to do is throw mud and attack people on a personal and family level. Smear and slander based on gossip and rumour is not a valid alternative to having a good policy platform and having an honourable intent to serve the Queensland community. I don’t think they quite get that concept yet.”

He made odd references to movies in order to absolve himself of any wrongdoing. Read the rest of this entry »